BEAUTY CARE

Walmart: 22 million customers visited on Thanksgiving Day

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart on Friday reported a robust Thanksgiving Day as part of its ongoing 2014 holiday sales season. 
 
“In a few short hours, we flipped from being the largest grocery store in town to the best gift shop on the block," said Laura Phillips, SVP merchandising Walmart U.S. "Not only did we have millions of customers shopping our stores, but we’re confident Walmart was the first stop of the night for most of them."
 
According to Phillips, more than 25 million people downloaded Walmart's Black Friday ad, and 20 million customers used their local store maps on Walmart.com. And as many as 22 million shoppers walked through Walmart's doors. Thanksgiving Day 2014 was Walmart's second-highest online sales day ever — topped only by Cyber Monday last year.
 
“Tablets, TVs, sheets, children’s apparel and video gaming were the top five categories of the night in our stores," Phillips said. "We sold enough food storage containers to hold 4.5 million pounds of Thanksgiving leftovers, and we sold enough towels to line the banks of the Mississippi River. Video games, wireless prepaid phones, HDTVs and baby items were popular on Walmart.com on Thanksgiving Day."
 

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2014 online holiday season sales up 15% in first month

BY Michael Johnsen

RESTON, Va. — ComScore on Sunday reported that U.S. desktop retail e-commerce spending for the first 28 days of the 2014 holiday season were up 15% to $22.7 billion. 
 
Thanksgiving Day saw a significant 32% gain to $1 billion in spending to surpass the billion dollar threshold for the first time in its history and marking the first day of the 2014 season to reach that level. Black Friday followed with an even stronger spending day with $1.5 billion in desktop online sales, up 26% from Black Friday 2013.
 
"Thanksgiving and Black Friday both saw exceptionally strong online growth rates as each day surpassed $1 billion in desktop spending," said ComScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. "The strength we saw in the early online buying rush likely reflects a few things, including overall health in consumer spending, responsiveness to the strong deals being offered online, and perhaps some shoppers opting to stay home on Thanksgiving rather than head out to the stores that opened their doors early," he said. Regardless of the particular drivers, it's clear that the online holiday rush is getting off to a very good start and is reason for optimism as we get into the heart of the buying season."

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Drug channel November front-end sales will be comparable to last year

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — November front-end drug store sales are expected to be comparable to last year while prescriptions dispensed will be up in the low single-digit range, similar to October, reported Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse research analyst, in a note published Friday. 
 
"The front-end promotional and overall competitive environment was likely little changed in November, as staples retailers remain focused on value to drive traffic," he wrote. "Overall we believe volume trends continue to be impacted by the drug stores’ relatively high pricing and lack of product differentiation against an intense competitive environment."
 
Citing IMS Health, Kelly reported that the average script growth through the first two weeks of November was up 2.8%. Flu activity is comparable to last year, though the continued growth of flu shots at retail may provide a slight lift in comparable store sales, he said. 
 
Kelly projects that both Rite Aid and Walgreens — two chains that will report their November sales later this week — will realize total same-store sales increases of around 4%. 
 

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